A new paper just published in Science Bulletin by Mark Richardson, Zeke Hausfather, Dana Nuccitelli, Ken Rice, and John Abraham shows that mainstream climate models simulate global temperature observations much better than the “irreducibly simple climate model” of Christopher Monckton, Willie Soon, David Legates, and William Briggs.
When the Monckton paper was published in the Chinese journal Science Bulletin this January, it was covered by conservative media outlets like the Daily Mail, Breitbart and World Net Daily, which used it to manufacture doubt about the dangers associated with human-caused global warming. The ideologically-appealing but scientifically incorrect message from the paper was essentially, ‘climate models are running hot, the climate is insensitive to the increasing greenhouse effect, and thus future global warming will be minimal and nothing to worry about.’
However, our team identified numerous glaring fundamental errors in the Monckton paper. The first was in the very premise of the paper itself, claiming that global climate models are “running hot.” In reality, as I show in my book Climatology versus Pseudoscience, mainstream climate models have done a good job at projecting the observed changes in the global surface temperature.
While temperature measurements have been toward the lower of the range of model projections in recent years, there’s been a tremendous body of scientific research investigating the various contributors to the slowdown in global surface warming. This research, which was entirely ignored by Monckton and his colleagues, is summarized by Kevin Cowtan in week 5 of the Denial101x course.
In fact, ignoring a vast body of important relevant research was a recurring theme throughout the Monckton paper. After they manufactured a problem by exaggerating the discrepancy between mainstream climate model simulations and temperature observations, and ignored the relevant scientific research on that issue, Monckton and colleagues created their own “irreducibly simple climate model” with built-in assumptions based on circuit design rather than the physics of the Earth’s climate system.
Here they made two fundamental mistakes. First, they assumed that the Earth’s climate is very stable, and built that assumption into their model. This assumption was based ignoring most of the body of paleoclimate (historical climate change) research showing big past climate change swings influenced by amplifying feedbacks, and by assuming that the Earth’s climate will behave the same as a human-designed electrical circuit with minimal gain and feedbacks.
Second, based on that first assumption of a stable climate, their paper claimed “warming is already at equilibrium” and the Earth’s response to an energy imbalance is instantaneous. However, this is obviously wrong because satellites measure a large ongoing global energy imbalance, with a tremendous amount of heat building up in the oceans. As John Abraham explains,
The model of Monckton and his colleagues is fatally flawed in that it assumes the Earth responds instantly to changes in heat. We know this isn’t true. The Earth has what’s called thermal inertia. Just like it takes a while for a pot of water to boil, or a Thanksgiving turkey to heat up, the Earth takes a while to absorb heat. If you ignore that, you will be way off in your results.
Circular logic was another fundamental flaw in the Monckton et al. paper – they used their simple model, which assumed that the Earth’s climate is stable and hence insensitive to the increasing greenhouse effect, to demonstrate that the climate is insensitive to the increasing greenhouse effect. (...)
"It was only a matter of time that we would average 400 parts per million globally," said Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network. "We first reported 400 ppm when all of our Arctic sites reached that value in the spring of 2012. In 2013 the record at NOAA's Mauna Loa Observatory first crossed the 400 ppm threshold. Reaching 400 parts per million as a global average is a significant milestone.
"This marks the fact that humans burning fossil fuels have caused global carbon dioxide concentrations to rise more than 120 parts per million since pre-industrial times," added Tans. "Half of that rise has occurred since 1980." (...)
Tuesday's record high temperature follows another high reading of 63.3°F set just the day before. Until this week's heat wave, the highest-known recorded temperature on the continent was 62.6°F back in 1976.
The Antarctic Peninsula where the readings were made "is one of the fastest warming spots on Earth," reports The Weather Undergound. The website cites studies from 2012 that show the world is warming at a quickening pace.
Five nations and territories have tied or hit all-time high temperature records so far this year.